23,059 research outputs found

    Towards Autonomous Selective Harvesting: A Review of Robot Perception, Robot Design, Motion Planning and Control

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    This paper provides an overview of the current state-of-the-art in selective harvesting robots (SHRs) and their potential for addressing the challenges of global food production. SHRs have the potential to increase productivity, reduce labour costs, and minimise food waste by selectively harvesting only ripe fruits and vegetables. The paper discusses the main components of SHRs, including perception, grasping, cutting, motion planning, and control. It also highlights the challenges in developing SHR technologies, particularly in the areas of robot design, motion planning and control. The paper also discusses the potential benefits of integrating AI and soft robots and data-driven methods to enhance the performance and robustness of SHR systems. Finally, the paper identifies several open research questions in the field and highlights the need for further research and development efforts to advance SHR technologies to meet the challenges of global food production. Overall, this paper provides a starting point for researchers and practitioners interested in developing SHRs and highlights the need for more research in this field.Comment: Preprint: to be appeared in Journal of Field Robotic

    Vision- and tactile-based continuous multimodal intention and attention recognition for safer physical human-robot interaction

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    Employing skin-like tactile sensors on robots enhances both the safety and usability of collaborative robots by adding the capability to detect human contact. Unfortunately, simple binary tactile sensors alone cannot determine the context of the human contact -- whether it is a deliberate interaction or an unintended collision that requires safety manoeuvres. Many published methods classify discrete interactions using more advanced tactile sensors or by analysing joint torques. Instead, we propose to augment the intention recognition capabilities of simple binary tactile sensors by adding a robot-mounted camera for human posture analysis. Different interaction characteristics, including touch location, human pose, and gaze direction, are used to train a supervised machine learning algorithm to classify whether a touch is intentional or not with an F1-score of 86%. We demonstrate that multimodal intention recognition is significantly more accurate than monomodal analyses with the collaborative robot Baxter. Furthermore, our method can also continuously monitor interactions that fluidly change between intentional or unintentional by gauging the user's attention through gaze. If a user stops paying attention mid-task, the proposed intention and attention recognition algorithm can activate safety features to prevent unsafe interactions. We also employ a feature reduction technique that reduces the number of inputs to five to achieve a more generalized low-dimensional classifier. This simplification both reduces the amount of training data required and improves real-world classification accuracy. It also renders the method potentially agnostic to the robot and touch sensor architectures while achieving a high degree of task adaptability.Comment: 11 pages, 8 figures, preprint under revie

    Testing the nomological network for the Personal Engagement Model

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    The study of employee engagement has been a key focus of management for over three decades. The academic literature on engagement has generated multiple definitions but there are two primary models of engagement: the Personal Engagement Model of Kahn (1990), and the Work Engagement Model (WEM) of Schaufeli et al., (2002). While the former is cited by most authors as the seminal work on engagement, research has tended to focus on elements of the model and most theoretical work on engagement has predominantly used the WEM to consider the topic. The purpose of this study was to test all the elements of the nomological network of the PEM to determine whether the complete model of personal engagement is viable. This was done using data from a large, complex public sector workforce. Survey questions were designed to test each element of the PEM and administered to a sample of the workforce (n = 3,103). The scales were tested and refined using confirmatory factor analysis and then the model was tested determine the structure of the nomological network. This was validated and the generalisability of the final model was tested across different work and organisational types. The results showed that the PEM is viable but there were differences from what was originally proposed by Kahn (1990). Specifically, of the three psychological conditions deemed necessary for engagement to occur, meaningfulness, safety, and availability, only meaningfulness was found to contribute to employee engagement. The model demonstrated that employees experience meaningfulness through both the nature of the work that they do and the organisation within which they do their work. Finally, the findings were replicated across employees in different work types and different organisational types. This thesis makes five contributions to the engagement paradigm. It advances engagement theory by testing the PEM and showing that it is an adequate representation of engagement. A model for testing the causal mechanism for engagement has been articulated, demonstrating that meaningfulness in work is a primary mechanism for engagement. The research has shown the key aspects of the workplace in which employees experience meaningfulness, the nature of the work that they do and the organisation within which they do it. It has demonstrated that this is consistent across organisations and the type of work. Finally, it has developed a reliable measure of the different elements of the PEM which will support future research in this area

    Technical Dimensions of Programming Systems

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    Programming requires much more than just writing code in a programming language. It is usually done in the context of a stateful environment, by interacting with a system through a graphical user interface. Yet, this wide space of possibilities lacks a common structure for navigation. Work on programming systems fails to form a coherent body of research, making it hard to improve on past work and advance the state of the art. In computer science, much has been said and done to allow comparison of programming languages, yet no similar theory exists for programming systems; we believe that programming systems deserve a theory too. We present a framework of technical dimensions which capture the underlying characteristics of programming systems and provide a means for conceptualizing and comparing them. We identify technical dimensions by examining past influential programming systems and reviewing their design principles, technical capabilities, and styles of user interaction. Technical dimensions capture characteristics that may be studied, compared and advanced independently. This makes it possible to talk about programming systems in a way that can be shared and constructively debated rather than relying solely on personal impressions. Our framework is derived using a qualitative analysis of past programming systems. We outline two concrete ways of using our framework. First, we show how it can analyze a recently developed novel programming system. Then, we use it to identify an interesting unexplored point in the design space of programming systems. Much research effort focuses on building programming systems that are easier to use, accessible to non-experts, moldable and/or powerful, but such efforts are disconnected. They are informal, guided by the personal vision of their authors and thus are only evaluable and comparable on the basis of individual experience using them. By providing foundations for more systematic research, we can help programming systems researchers to stand, at last, on the shoulders of giants

    How does firm ownership concentration and female directors influence tax haven foreign direct investment? Evidence from Asia-Pacific and OECD countries

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    The literature on tax havens utilization by multinational enterprises (MNEs) has largely focused on determinants that are financial or technological in nature. We contribute to this literature by showing important corporate governance determinants for tax haven utilization by Asia-Pacific and OECD country MNEs. Theoretically, we show that ownership concentration and female board membership influence tax haven utilization. Empirically, we show negative associations between ownership concentration and female board membership and the likelihood of owning a subsidiary in a tax haven. Based on our results, we draw a number of implications for theoretical and empirical work, which also opens the door for further investigation in this area

    The place where curses are manufactured : four poets of the Vietnam War

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    The Vietnam War was unique among American wars. To pinpoint its uniqueness, it was necessary to look for a non-American voice that would enable me to articulate its distinctiveness and explore the American character as observed by an Asian. Takeshi Kaiko proved to be most helpful. From his novel, Into a Black Sun, I was able to establish a working pair of 'bookends' from which to approach the poetry of Walter McDonald, Bruce Weigl, Basil T. Paquet and Steve Mason. Chapter One is devoted to those seemingly mismatched 'bookends,' Walt Whitman and General William C. Westmoreland, and their respective anthropocentric and technocentric visions of progress and the peculiarly American concept of the "open road" as they manifest themselves in Vietnam. In Chapter, Two, I analyze the war poems of Walter McDonald. As a pilot, writing primarily about flying, his poetry manifests General Westmoreland's technocentric vision of the 'road' as determined by and manifest through technology. Chapter Three focuses on the poems of Bruce Weigl. The poems analyzed portray the literal and metaphorical descent from the technocentric, 'numbed' distance of aerial warfare to the world of ground warfare, and the initiation of a 'fucking new guy,' who discovers the contours of the self's interior through a set of experiences that lead from from aerial insertion into the jungle to the degradation of burning human feces. Chapter Four, devoted to the thirteen poems of Basil T. Paquet, focuses on the continuation of the descent begun in Chapter Two. In his capacity as a medic, Paquet's entire body of poems details his quotidian tasks which entail tending the maimed, the mortally wounded and the dead. The final chapter deals with Steve Mason's JohnnY's Song, and his depiction of the plight of Vietnam veterans back in "The World" who are still trapped inside the interior landscape of their individual "ghettoes" of the soul created by their war-time experiences

    Preferentialism and the conditionality of trade agreements. An application of the gravity model

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    Modern economic growth is driven by international trade, and the preferential trade agreement constitutes the primary fit-for-purpose mechanism of choice for establishing, facilitating, and governing its flows. However, too little attention has been afforded to the differences in content and conditionality associated with different trade agreements. This has led to an under-considered mischaracterisation of the design-flow relationship. Similarly, while the relationship between trade facilitation and trade is clear, the way trade facilitation affects other areas of economic activity, with respect to preferential trade agreements, has received considerably less attention. Particularly, in light of an increasingly globalised and interdependent trading system, the interplay between trade facilitation and foreign direct investment is of particular importance. Accordingly, this thesis explores the bilateral trade and investment effects of specific conditionality sets, as established within Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs). Chapter one utilises recent content condition-indexes for depth, flexibility, and constraints on flexibility, established by Dür et al. (2014) and Baccini et al. (2015), within a gravity framework to estimate the average treatment effect of trade agreement characteristics across bilateral trade relationships in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) from 1948-2015. This chapter finds that the composition of a given ASEAN trade agreement’s characteristic set has significantly determined the concomitant bilateral trade flows. Conditions determining the classification of a trade agreements depth are positively associated with an increase to bilateral trade; hereby representing the furthered removal of trade barriers and frictions as facilitated by deeper trade agreements. Flexibility conditions, and constraint on flexibility conditions, are also identified as significant determiners for a given trade agreement’s treatment effect of subsequent bilateral trade flows. Given the political nature of their inclusion (i.e., the appropriate address to short term domestic discontent) this influence is negative as regards trade flows. These results highlight the longer implementation and time frame requirements for trade impediments to be removed in a market with higher domestic uncertainty. Chapter two explores the incorporation of non-trade issue (NTI) conditions in PTAs. Such conditions are increasing both at the intensive and extensive margins. There is a concern from developing nations that this growth of NTI inclusions serves as a way for high-income (HI) nations to dictate the trade agenda, such that developing nations are subject to ‘principled protectionism’. There is evidence that NTI provisions are partly driven by protectionist motives but the effect on trade flows remains largely undiscussed. Utilising the Gravity Model for trade, I test Lechner’s (2016) comprehensive NTI dataset for 202 bilateral country pairs across a 32-year timeframe and find that, on average, NTIs are associated with an increase to bilateral trade. Primarily this boost can be associated with the market access that a PTA utilising NTIs facilitates. In addition, these results are aligned theoretically with the discussions on market harmonisation, shared values, and the erosion of artificial production advantages. Instead of inhibiting trade through burdensome cost, NTIs are acting to support a more stable production and trading environment, motivated by enhanced market access. Employing a novel classification to capture the power supremacy associated with shaping NTIs, this chapter highlights that the positive impact of NTIs is largely driven by the relationship between HI nations and middle-to-low-income (MTLI) counterparts. Chapter Three employs the gravity model, theoretically augmented for foreign direct investment (FDI), to estimate the effects of trade facilitation conditions utilising indexes established by Neufeld (2014) and the bilateral FDI data curated by UNCTAD (2014). The resultant dataset covers 104 countries, covering a period of 12 years (2001–2012), containing 23,640 observations. The results highlight the bilateral-FDI enhancing effects of trade facilitation conditions in the ASEAN context, aligning itself with the theoretical branch of FDI-PTA literature that has outlined how the ratification of a trade agreement results in increased and positive economic prospect between partners (Medvedev, 2012) resulting from the interrelation between trade and investment as set within an improving regulatory environment. The results align with the expectation that an enhanced trade facilitation landscape (one in which such formalities, procedures, information, and expectations around trade facilitation are conditioned for) is expected to incentivise and attract FDI
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